Peter Weibel (German: [ˈvaɪbəl]; born 5 March 1944 in Odessa, USSR) is an Austrian artist, curator and theoretician.
Raised in Upper Austria he started to study French and cinematography in Paris. In 1964 he began to study medicine in Vienna, but changed soon to mathematics, with an emphasis on logic.
Peter Weibel’s oeuvre belong in the following categories: conceptual art, performance, experimental film, video art and computer art.
Starting in 1965 from semiotic and linguistic reflections (Austin, Jakobson, Peirce, Wittgenstein), Peter Weibel developed an artistic language, which led him from experimental literature to performance. In his performative actions, he has explored not only the "media" language and body, but also film, video, television, audiotape and interactive electronic environments. Critically he analyzed their function for the construction of reality. Besides taking part in happenings with members of the Vienna Actionism, he developed from 1967 (together with Valie Export, Ernst Schmidt Jr. and Hans Scheugl) an "expanded cinema" inspired by the American one and reflects the ideological and technological conditions of cinematic representation. Weibel elaborated on these reflections, from 1969, in his video tapes and installations. With his television action "tv und vt works", which was broadcast by the Austrian Television (ORF) in 1972, he transcended the borders of the gallery space and queried video technology in its application as a mass medium. In 1966 he was with Gustav Metzger, Otto Muehl, Wolf Vostell, Hermann Nitsch and others a participant of the Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) in London.
Peter Weibel followed his artistic aims using a large variety of materials, forms and techniques: text, sculpture, installation, film and video. In 1978 he turned to music. Together with Loys Egg, he founded the band "Hotel Morphila Orchester" (orchestra). In the mid-1980s, he explored the possibilities of computer-aided video processing. Beginning of the 1990s he realized interactive computer-based installations. Here again he addressed the relation between media and the construction of reality.
In his lectures and articles, Weibel commented on contemporary art, media history, media theory, film, video art and philosophy. As theoretician and curator, he pleaded for a form of art and art history that includes history of technology and history of science. In his function as a university professor and director of institutions like the Ars Electronica (in Linz, Austria), the Institute for New Media in Frankfurt and the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, he influenced the European Scene of the so-called computer art through conferences, exhibitions and publications.
Research and teaching
From 1976, Peter Weibel taught at numerous universities, among others at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and the Gesamthochschule Kassel. In 1984 he was appointed to teach for five years as Associate Professor for Video and Digital Arts at the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York. The same year, 1984 he became Professor for visual media at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. In 1989 he was assigned to set up the Institute for New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, which he headed until 1994.
Since 1986 Peter Weibel worked as artistic advisor for the Ars Electronica, which he then headed from 1992 until 1995 as its artistic director. From 1993 to 1999, he curated the pavilion of Austria on the Venice Biennial. In the same period, from 1993 to 1999, he worked as chief curator at the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria. Since January 1999 Peter Weibel was Chairman and CEO of the ZKM Center for Art and Media.
- 2011 The Global Contemporary Kunstwelten nach 1989 (with Andrea Buddensieg), ZKM Center for Art and Media
- 2011 Moderne: Selbstmord der Kunst? Im Spiegel der Sammlung der Neuen Galerie Graz (with Christa Steinle and Gudrun Danzer), Neue Galerie Graz
- 2011 Bruseum. Ein Museum für Günter Brus (with Anke Orgel), Neue Galerie Graz
- 2011 Hans Hollein (with Günther Holler-Schuster), Neue Galerie Graz
- 2011 Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa. The Lack of the Other (with Freddy Paul Grunert), ZKM Center for Art and Media
- 2008 youniverse, International Biennal of Contemporary Arts, Sevilla
- 2005 Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht (with Gregor Jansen), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 2005 Making Things Public (with Bruno Latour), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 2003 M_ARS: Kunst und Krieg (with Günther Holler-Schuster), Neue Galerie Graz
- 2002 Future Cinema (with Jeffrey Shaw), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 2002 Iconoclash (with Bruno Latour), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 2000/2001 Olafur Eliasson: Surroundings surroanded, Neue Galerie Graz and ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 2000 Net_condition (with Walter van der Crijusen, Johannes Goebel, Golo Foellmer, Hans-Peter Schwarz, Jeffrey Shaw, Benjamin Weill) ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 1999/2000 Der anagrammatische Körper Kunsthaus Muerz, Muerzzuschlag | Neue Galerie, Graz and ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- 1999 Open Practice, 48th Venice Biennale
- 1998 Jenseits von Kunst, MUHKA, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen; Neue Galerie, Graz; Ludwig-Museum, Budapest
- 1996 Inklusion: Exklusion, Steirischen Herbst 96, Graz
- 1993 Kontext Kunst, Neue Galerie Graz
- 1991 Das Bild nach dem letzten Bild (with Kaspar König), Galerie Metropol, Vienna
- 1990 Vom Verschwinden der Ferne (with Edith Decker), Postmuseum, Frankfurt on the Main
- 1987 Logokultur, Universitaet fuer angewandte Kunst, Vienna
- 1976 Österreichs Avantgarde 1908-38 (with Oswald Oberhuber), Galerie naechst St. Stephan, Vienna
Decorations and awards
- 1974: Film Prize of the City of Berlin
- 1984: Creative Excellence (Special Effects), Clio Awards Festival, New York
- 1984: 31 Festival for TV and film, National Prix, Cannes
- 1988: Prix Ars Electronica (computer animation) award for Time as Code: Chronokratie
- 1991: Sculpture Award, the EA-Generali Foundation, Vienna
- 1992: City of Vienna Prize for Visual Arts
- 1993: Prix Ars Electronica (interactive art), recognition for Virtual Worlds
- 1997: Siemens Media Art Award
- 2002: Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
- 2004: Käthe Kollwitz Prize
- 2007: Grand Decoration of Styria
- 2007: Honorary doctorate from the University of Art and Design Helsinki
- 2008: Order of Arts and Letters
- 2009: Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge-Price
- 2009: Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg
- 2009: Full member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts
- 2009: European Cultural Project Award of the European Cultural Foundation
- 2009: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class
- 2013: Honorary doctorate from Pécs University, Hungary
- 2014: YESBODY FOR ARTISTIC RESEARCH Institute for Artistic Research (IKF) / Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF